Adam Curtis’ – The Trap

I.The Trap – Fuck you buddy

II. The Trap – The Lonely Robot

III. The Trap – We Will Force U 2 Be Free

I like Curtis’s documentaries quite a bit. They are filled with facts people need to know and connections they need to make. I don’t always agree with the connections he makes or the conclusions he draws, but it doesn’t make his films any less fascinating. His films usually document the lesser known history of how ideologies are created and employed by, well, let’s use the old fashioned phrase, the system. One thing this series does quite well is explain ideological levers of control and where they came from.

Curtis’ mode of explanation does a better job than most of exposing the ideological roots of major systemic problems we all live with. For example, why we have a system that forces police, teachers, and bureaucrats to “juke” stats. It will probably shock many Americans to see a reflection of our current testing crisis in England – about 20 years ago. It shows clearly why educators and administrators are turned into bean counters and why “scandals” like the admin and staff in Atlanta conspiring to change student’s test scores is not an isolated incident. There are ideological antecedents to how the system is formed as well as the decisions people make within that system – to say nothing of the kind of people being created by that system. The one ideology Curtis never seems to meet head on is the ideology of capitalism. That is the idea that shapes all of the other ideas he discusses to its twisted logic. When it comes to testing in schools, Curtis shows the genesis of the idea from game theory, but misses the fact that the theory was funded and then promulgated by a right-wing corporate think tank and then exploited by other corporations like testing companies and corporations like Edison who take over supposedly public schools. When you realize right-wing corporate funded think tanks essentially wrote NCLB it is easy to see who profits and who loses. These are systemic problems that have their roots in right-wing developed ideological tools of domination and control, always in the service of bigger and bigger profits at the expense of working people.

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